This thread gets this post because this is an excellent, top-of-the-pile DSD256 recording from Jared Sacks. Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra are simply phenomenal in this performance, so I was torn to post it in the Classical thread. But, DSD256 wins. Now, if you guys say you’re just not that into classical, the next one can go the other way.
In any event, a really nice brand new release from Channel Classics available from NativeDSD here. A review will be coming, but the publishing queue is rather lengthy at the moment. So, you’ll just have to take your chances based on my enthusiasm here.
Oh, and I’m sure this had to have been post-processed to some extent, but I have no information on that. I’m just enjoying some VERY FINE orchestral sound quality from the collaboration of two of my favorite recording engineers, Jared Sacks and Tom Peeters. Just extraordinarily fine work.
You seem to like a lot of Channel Classics recordings.
I must say I always just selected Bert van der Wolf’s Northstar releases out of them and found most others average.
I had a phone Call with him maybe a year ago, he was very friendly and humble and seemed to wonder how people really care for his recordings. Given how well regarded he is and how much he concentrates on great sound with his Northstar/Turtle activities, this was hard to take serious
Bert’s recordings are excellent, particularly so when you get his Northstar DXD releases from Spirit of Turtle rather than the lower res Challenge Classics versions. His recording style is different from Jared Sacks’ recordings, which I do like very much. I place no differentiation – they are both at the top of the recording arts game recording different artists and different repertoire.
And speaking of excellent recordings, for those who like Chopin you should hear Anna Fedorova in this recording of Chopin waltzes, mazurkas and nocturnes. Just delightful in Pure DSD256 from Jared Sacks:
Listening to this Pure DSD256 transfer yet again prompted me to wonder what folks listen for and value in terms of the sound quality of the recordings they select. This is a vintage mono recording, so it does not have stereo sound staging of the instrumentalists (in either breadth or depth) which is something I’ve always valued. It also doesn’t have the most airy, extended top end that transports you to where angels dwell (a function of the electronics of the day). But, it gets the midrange just deliciously right. And I’ve been coming back to this recording all week to listen, and then listen yet again.
So, I pulled on my thinking cap to revisit my thoughts on what I value in sound quality. And they all line up to what DSD256 delivers in spades. So perhaps this is why I enjoy DSD256 so much as a recording format, particularly Pure DSD256.
These are my listening priorities for sound quality, and they are grounded in my preference for listening to acoustic music:
The recording allows for the willing suspension of disbelief—it is one that lets me have a window on the live acoustical space of the musicians and their instruments.
Timbre is critical. I want to hear the harmonic overtones of the instruments and sense that I’m listening to REAL instruments, not artificial constructs. And here the midrange reproduction is the most critical part of the frequency spectrum. Get the midrange right FIRST. Then extend in both directions while keeping that midrange accuracy. If the midrange frequencies are not accurate, I really lose interest very quickly in how wonderful the bottom or the top ends may be.
Micro-dynamics, capture them with precision, capture true leading edge transient definition, don’t fudge across. It’s the micro-dynamics that make the sound come alive. The macro dynamics are always interesting, but the micro-dynamics determine whether the music sounds real and alive.
Transparency – clear, clean and open sound that allows one to hear deeply into the music.
A significant criterion in the past has been sound stage—the ability to recreate the acoustic space in width, depth and height. Moving to headphones has shifted my priorities some because I’ve found that the soundstage reproduction possible with speakers in a good listening room is simply not a realistic expectation for headphone listening. Past experience gives me a good sense of what the recording is capable of in this respect, even when listening via headphones however. And headphones generate their own particular sound stage once you come to understand what’s happening. It’s just not the same as with good speakers in a good listening room.
So, today I focus ever more on transparency, inner detail, timbre and micro-dynamics as factors that greatly influence our enjoyment (and assessment) of the recording.
A Pure DSD256 recording simply captures more of this to my ear than any other digital format. So, what makes for a great recording for you? Where are your priorities?
And when I go to listen to a modern Pure DSD256 recording, like this recording by Gonzalo Noque of violin and harpsichord, I can be simply blown away by the sound quality.
Your depth and differentiations, also between speakers and headphones and your ability to reflect the own situation, show the high grade of listening experience you have. The latter alone usually doesn’t help if one’s not free of an agenda overruling the assessment capability or if one tends to make hasty judgments….limitations you don’t seem to have.
It would be interesting to talk with you about the difference between transparency and air in a recording or playback scenario, but this maybe for later.
For now I’d be interested how you see the sound preference of recordings or gear, one favors when listening with headphones. You rightly pointed to the different perception of soundstaging. I’d set this aside for now, too.
What I remember from my headphone times is, that even slightly dense or slightly too rich recordings (when listened to over speakers) sound quite transparent with headphones. Even slightly recessed recordings on top still sound fine due to the headphones‘ general transparency. Do you have the feeling that (maybe especially due to headphone use) you especially focus on harmonically rich enough/right sounding recordings among the great ones? My impression somehow is, that the headphones might enable you to easier identify differences analog and probably high sampling rate DSD make, like microdynamics and timbre.
I will add that as my system’s ability to resolve inner detail improves (that’s a continuous improvement goal of mine), I am frequently amazed at what I hear from familiar recordings that I did not previously perceive.
@waymanchen11 , Your comments about Shades of Blue prompted me to listen. I’d not heard it before. And I agree with you, a really nice album that captures the musicians every well! I’ve added to my next list of “recent finds” (to be published whenever the schedule allows).